Faulty Tech Led to Nearly 100,000 DC-Area 911 Call Transfers in 2020 – NBC4 Washington – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-04-20 16:16:40 –

From the coast of Roosevelt Island last fall, Pam Gordimer focused on capturing the beauty of the Keybridge on canvas when his dog Rosie began to growl.

The painter then saw a man holding hands and actively approaching, shouting obscene.

“I didn’t know what to do. He just kept coming towards me, and my dog ​​went crazy,” she said.

Rosie’s bark scared the man, but Gordimer was afraid that the danger wasn’t over. She called 911 on her mobile phone and connected to the 911 Center in Arlington County. So the person who received the call said he was out of his jurisdiction and instead forwarded it to DC’s 911 Center. However, DC should have transferred her to the US Park Police again, so no help was received.

Gordimer wonders what would have happened if the situation became even more dire.

“I want to know that if I have a problem, I can call 911 to connect with the right people and be safe,” Gordimer said.

She is among the thousands of people in our area and sees delays in requesting help due to phone transfers.

News4 I-Team requests nearly 100,000 calls each year, and in some cases a day, to reach the correct jurisdiction before requesting call data from five 911 centers in the DC region and sending help. I found that I needed to transfer a hundred calls.

If someone’s heart isn’t beating or is bleeding, those seconds can mean the difference between life and death. And they do so from time to time.

Brandon Avery, National 911 Association

According to experts from the National 911 Association, these transfers are routinely done nationwide due to the old technology that routes wireless calls to the nearest available cell tower. It is not always transferred to the correct 911 jurisdiction. The closer you are to the edge of the adjacent jurisdiction, the more likely the call will be forwarded to the wrong 911 Center.

“The problem with call transfer is wasting time,” said Brandon Avery, technical director of the association. “If someone’s heart isn’t beating or bleeding, those seconds may mean the difference between life and death, and they sometimes do.”

Not all emergency call transfers are the wrong route. Some jurisdictions are to receive calls to nearby partners and forward them to the appropriate authorities accordingly. But experts say it doesn’t make up the majority of transfers.

“There is reason to believe that the false routes of 911 are not occasional or isolated, and in fact occur frequently and sometimes have fatal consequences,” said former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in 2018. I am writing in the year.

“Fatal consequences”

This problem last summer A teenager drowning in the Virginia River.. An emergency call connected to Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Maryland, and a cell phone tower across the river. The desperate caller was transferred in both directions.

“The last thing you want is to be transferred to someone in another state, and that’s exactly what happened,” Sharon Coolbush, who repeatedly called 911 that day, told News4 last year.

First responders in both counties and emergency authorities have worked together to investigate the processing of these calls and enact changes. They told I-Team that the jurisdiction that received the first call now would help and then contact the adjacent jurisdiction to do the same.

Cassandra Only, director of the Montgomery County Emergency Liaison Center, said: “It’s a pain because you want to get through the phone and provide that help on the fly.”

Through an open record request, Team I obtained annual transfer data for the District of Maryland, Montgomery, Prince George County, and Arlington County, Virginia, and Alexandria.

Most of the 58,000 transfers in and out of the district last year were related to Prince George’s County — nearly 41,000. Montgomery County forwarded more than 15,000 calls to DC and an additional 16,000 to Prince George’s.

According to the data, Alexandria transferred more than 3,200 emergency calls in 2020. This includes 1,000 calls to Arlington County. And 530 calls to Alexandria went to Arlington first instead.

After all, Arlington, who is supposed to handle 911 calls from several neighboring jurisdictions, transferred over 7,700 calls in 2020, of which nearly 2,400 were transferred to the district.

Teddy Kavaleri, Chief Information Technology Officer for DC’s Unified Communications Bureau, said:

These transferred calls often contain only the caller’s voice and do not contain any additional location data that the cell carrier may send. He estimates that about 5% of the district’s 911 calls require a transfer to another jurisdiction.

Future solution

Experts explained that Uber drivers can see the exact location of their cell phone, but most 911 centers can only see the cell tower information sent by the cell phone company, so they can’t.

Steve McMurrer, 911 Systems Administrator in Fairfax County, Virginia, said: The so-called next-generation 911 system.

Fairfax County has also integrated mobile phone location data from another web-based program called Rapid SOS into the maps that callers and dispatchers use to locate callers. According to McMurrer, it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s close.

“When we all move to this next-generation 911 network, when we transfer a call, all the equivalent map data accompanies the call and instantly captures an image of where the caller is. [someone] “McMuller explained.

In late March, Fairfax County was the first in the metropolitan area to “locate” from T-Mobile, the first mobile operator to provide the exact location of the caller to the 911 Center using tools such as GPS and Wi-Fi. I got what is called “base routing”. Fi.

Grant Castle, Vice President of Device Engineering at T-Mobile, said:

Currently, the FCC does not require carriers to provide location-based routing data for emergency calls. The FCC did not respond to Team I’s interview request.

“We will continue to be ahead of the FCC, but absolutely this is 100% correct and I think everyone should be involved,” Castle said, and the career waits at each 911 center. I added that I was just there. Provides a map of where those border calls will be sent.

The I-Team has contacted other major wireless operators as to whether they will follow suit. AT & T said in a statement that it has completed testing and deploying next-generation 911 device-centric location-based services and plans to launch it in the DC region later this year.

“Currently, Verizon routes 911 calls based on the location of the cell site and in most cases reaches the correct 911 call center,” said a Verizon spokesman, device-based in conjunction with DC’s next-generation system. Deploy 911 routing.

T-Mobile has confirmed that it is currently working on incorporating location-based routing technology into the district’s 911 service. Kavaleri said DC also needs to incorporate RapidSOS into the map in the coming weeks.

Mr. Only said that along with Montgomery County, the 911 Center is first upgrading its telephone system before implementing the next-generation 911, with the goal of launching the system in the summer.

Arlington 911 leaders said the next-generation 911 upgrade will also include more detailed mappings to narrow down callers from next month.

“We have created a border around all our assets,” said Angelina Candelas-Reese, 911 System Manager in Arlington County, which is a better direct call to the appropriate jurisdiction. I explained how it helps.

Arlington should have forwarded Gordimer’s call directly from Roosevelt Island to the US Park Police, as DC authorities have jurisdiction over only the water around the island. District dispatchers were unable to send federal personnel after police advised that it was not their call.

“If we accidentally transfer them, it’s often because of the confusing territory that involves federal property,” Candela Reese explained to Team I.

Since the 9/11 attacks, Arlington’s 911 leader has said it has provided additional training to employees on forwarding protocols and streamlined response agreements with DC and Park police.

According to experts, transfers are always necessary and human error is always present, but better technology reduces misrouted calls.

Cavaleri said he could call Team I directly to the Park Police when the district’s new technology was fully implemented later this year.

That’s welcome news for Gordimer.

“People’s lives are at stake,” she said.

Reported by Jodie Fleischer, created by Katie Leslie, filmed and edited by Steve Jones and Jeff Piper.

Faulty Tech Led to Nearly 100,000 DC-Area 911 Call Transfers in 2020 – NBC4 Washington Source link Faulty Tech Led to Nearly 100,000 DC-Area 911 Call Transfers in 2020 – NBC4 Washington

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